In the Australian Open, Sumit Nagal became the first player from the country to overcome a seeded opponent since 1989.
On Tuesday, January 16, Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal made history by being the first national player to overcome a seeded opponent at the Australian Open since 1989. The 26-year-old accomplished a remarkable victory in the first round, defeating Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 to move on to the second round.
Notably, Nagal has been supported by famed Indian cricketer Virat Kohli since 2017. Nagal shares a unique bond with Kohli. In the wake of his historic victory, an old interview of Nagal has come to light in which he expressed gratitude to the former captain of India for helping him through a difficult financial time.
Since 2017, the Virat Kohli Foundation has provided me with help. For the past two years, I have not been performing well and have been in financial difficulties. I don’t know what I would have done if Virat Kohli hadn’t been there for me,” Nagal told the Bombay Times.
Nagal said he’s fortunate to have Kohli’s support and underlined the value of supporting national athletes in order to foster the growth of the sport.
“Imagine what a mess I must have been previously because early this year (in 2019), after receiving support, I had only six dollars in my wallet while I was flying from Canada to Germany following a tournament. However, I made it through, and things are improving. Individuals who sponsor athletes will only contribute to the growth of the sport in this nation. I am privileged to have Virat’s backing,” he continued.
Moreover, Sumit Nagal advanced to the US Open 2020 second round.
Meanwhile, Nagal advanced from the Australian Open first round for the first time ever with his win over Alexander Bublik. He lost the first round of the 2021 tournament to Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania. At the moment, the player from Haryana is ranked 139th in the world. In the 2020 US Open, Nagal has also advanced to the second round of a Grand Slam competition, however he was defeated by second seed Dominic Thiem.